As I get older, the pictures in my head of people at a certain age - say, this is what a 30 yr-old looks like, or that is what a 70 yr-old looks like - have changed. A lot. (And not just because I'm closer to 30 myself.) It's the people around me, my family & friends, who've changed my mind.
Early next week, my paternal grandmother turns 90. 90! The picture in my head of a 90-yr-old does not include the woman who was sweeping her back steps yesterday. Not to mention that she has looked almost exactly the same for at least the past 15 years.
She has some health issues: It's from her that I've gotten my very sensitive skin, and nowadays just about everything seems to aggravate hers. She's got Macular Degeneration that wasn't caught quite as quickly as it could have been, so she's got poor vision in one eye. And a couple of other minor things that just about anybody could have going on with them. She often says that it isn't fair that she should feel better, at 90, than me, at 28. (I don't know about fair, but I'm glad she still feeling so good!)
In honor of the occassion the Mc-side of my family are gathering tomorrow for a big celebration at her house. And when I say 'tomorrow', I mean probably till the beginning of next week.
She knows there's a party (because if people showed up and her house wasn't clean, she would skin us all), she just doesn't know who's coming. Which is mostly because we don't really know who's coming just yet either. Everybody is trying to come, but who knows who will make it. My grandparents had 9 children: two of them, including my father, are deceased. Of the 9, 5 have kids. At least two kids. And some of those kids (like my brother), have kids of their own. So when I say that it's just 'the close family' that's coming... I think you can imagine how many people that will most likely turn out to be.
At last count: 32. With less than half of the contigency accounted for, and an estimated count much closer to 65.
I'm excited because it will be the first time we've (who ever we turns out to be) all been in the same space for about 10 years. I've seen a lot of people, bits and pieces, over the years: A cousin at this party, three uncles who managed to get an overlapping vacation day, a large chunk at one of my other cousin's weddings, etc. But the majority of us together? Not since 1992, when we had a family reunion. My grandfather, father and favorite uncle were all still alive then. Youngest Nephew and Niece, along with all of my cousins' kids, were not. Youngest Sister (who's actually the youngest in our bunch) was 5, and our oldest cousin had just started college: Now he's almost 37, and she'll be starting in September.
Oh, and also? I was not sick. But I'm trying not to focus on that.
My grandmother's house is less than 5 minutes away, if you don't hit the one red light between here and there. I'm glad that I can be so close to her, all the time, and sometimes find myself angry at the parts of the family who've moved away: How can they not want to be here? It's illogical, though to be that way. I know it. And I'm glad that so many of them are making the effort to come all this way.
So the plan for my weekend is to enjoy, relax with my family, and take lots of pictures. What's your plan?